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Colorectal Cancer Health Center

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Fish, Exercise Help Thwart Colon Cancer's Return?

Healthy habits important even when you're sick, researcher says

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Previous studies have established various benefits of exercise for colon cancer, Shaik and Krishnamurthi said.

"There's a growing body of epidemiologic evidence that exercise is associated with a reduced risk of recurrent colon cancer," Krishnamurthi said. "It makes sense. For example, we know that exercise reduces insulin levels in the body, and insulin is a growth factor for both normal cells and malignant cells."

Exercise also reduces inflammation in the body and helps thwart obesity, which are two other risk factors for colon cancer.

Weekly moderate exercise can include activities like a brisk walk or a bicycle ride. You can split up the needed hour of exercise, and do 20 minutes three times a week rather than do it all at once, Shaik said.

Krishnamurthi said she is not surprised that smoking or drinking did not seem to affect colon cancer risk. Previous studies have found no link between smoking and colon cancer, and only weak evidence linking colon cancer and alcohol.

However, she was surprised that no link was found between red meat consumption and colon cancer recurrence. She said she often warns her patients to avoid red meat and processed foods.

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